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  • Writer's pictureThe Sicilian Wanderer

The prehistoric era in Sicily: a journey into the island's past.


The prehistoric era in Sicily

Dear readers of our travel blog,

Today we want to take you on a captivating and evocative journey, exploring the prehistoric era of the beautiful island of Sicily. Sicily, with its rich and intricate history, offers a unique experience for enthusiasts of archaeology and ancient history. Prepare to dive into an adventure that will make you lose track of time and space!

Sicily has been inhabited since the Lower Paleolithic, about 500,000 years ago. We begin our journey in the Grotta dell'Addaura, located on Mount Pellegrino in Palermo. This cave, discovered in 1943, is famous for its rock engravings dating back to the Upper Paleolithic, about 14,000 years ago. The images depict hunting and dancing scenes, offering a fascinating insight into the life of the island's ancient inhabitants.

We continue our tour in the natural reserve of Pantalica, an archaeological site declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Pantalica boasts a necropolis consisting of over 5,000 tombs carved into the rock between the 13th and 7th centuries BC. Here you can admire ancient dwellings and the remains of a palace from the Sicilian period.

Another must-visit is the Grotta di San Teodoro, located near Messina. This cave provides a unique overview of human evolution in Sicily, with artifacts dating back to 200,000 years ago. Inside the cave, numerous testimonies of the daily life of the island's early inhabitants have been found, such as stone tools and utensils.

We cannot discuss Sicilian prehistory without mentioning the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. Although the temples themselves date back to the Greek period, the surrounding area has been inhabited since the Neolithic. Ancient walls and fortifications attest to the presence of prehistoric settlements in this area. The Valley of the Temples is a magical place where history and nature merge into an unforgettable experience.

Lastly, we conclude our prehistoric journey with a visit to the Archaeological Park of Selinunte, located on the southwestern coast of Sicily. Selinunte was founded in the 7th century BC and was an important Greek city. The city was surrounded by walls and fortifications, some of which date back to the prehistoric period. The park offers the chance to admire the remains of ancient temples, houses, and fortifications that tell the story of Sicily from prehistory to the Greek era.

In conclusion, the island of Sicily offers an extraordinary opportunity to immerse oneself in prehistoric history and discover its hidden treasures. From archaeological sites to painted caves, Sicily will amaze you with its beauty and the richness of its history. Don't hesitate to plan your next trip to this wonderful island and let yourself be enchanted by the traces left by its ancient inhabitants! Here's a list of all the archaeological sites we described in our guide to the prehistory of Sicily, with the main information on where to find them, opening hours, prices, and other useful information:

pantalica grotto

1. Grotta dell'Addaura:

- Location: Situated on Mount Pellegrino in Palermo, a few kilometers from the city center, near the coastline stretching from the seaside village of Mondello to Palermo.

- Significance: Known for its complex of caves housing engravings and graffiti from the Upper Paleolithic era, depicting human and animal figures.

- Attractions: The caves contain four main cavities with archaeological interests ranging from Paleolithic engravings to Pleistocene fossil remains. The engravings depict various scenes, providing a glimpse into Paleolithic life.

- Visiting: Access is by guided tours only. For more information, it's advisable to check the official website or contact local tourism offices.


2. Riserva Naturale di Pantalica:

- Location: Spread across the territories of Ferla, Cassaro, and Sortino in the province of Siracusa, encompassing the largest necropolis in Europe with around 5,000 tombs.

- Significance: Known for its untouched nature, breathtaking panoramas, and ancient archaeological remains, it's a fascinating mix of natural and historical allure.

- Attractions: Visitors can explore the necropolis of Pantalica and the Valle dell'Anapo nature reserve, enjoying the pristine natural environment and the flowing Anapo river.

- Visiting: Entry is free, open daily from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The reserve is also recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.


3. Valle dei Templi (Valley of the Temples) at Agrigento:

- Location: Located in Agrigento.

- Visiting: Open daily from 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM. Ticket prices vary based on the type chosen (e.g., single ticket or family package).


4. Grotta di San Teodoro:

- Location: Near Messina.

- Visiting: Access is by guided tours only. For more information, it's advisable to check the official website or contact local tourism offices.


5. Parco Archeologico di Selinunte:

- Location: Situated in Castelvetrano, province of Trapani, offering a blend of historical exploration amidst the backdrop of the Mediterranean.

- Significance: Home to remarkable archaeological heritage from the Magna Graecia era, it's one of the largest archaeological sites in Europe with ancient Greek temples and ruins.

- Visiting: Open daily from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, with an exit by 7:00 PM. Admission fee is €6.00 for a full ticket and €3.00 for a reduced ticket. More information can be found on the official website (https://www.visitselinunte.com).


Each of these sites offers a unique insight into Sicily's rich historical and natural heritage, providing a fulfilling experience for visitors.

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An exceptional post today as well!

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